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'They're tragedies': Four worksite fatalities in eight days
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 8:42PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 16, 2019 6:29PM MDT
Four Albertans have died on worksites in the province in just over a week.
On March 5, a 45-year-old man fell to his death from an apartment complex in Leduc. That same day, a 37-year-old man was struck and killed by a vehicle near Grande Prairie. On Sunday, a 31-year-old man was struck and killed by heavy machinery south of Grande Prairie. And Monday, a 57-year-old man died in an incident involving a fifth-wheel RV and a tractor in Spruce Grove.
“They’re tragedies; every workplace fatality is a tragedy,” Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said.
It has been a tough week, but McGowan believes new legislation that gives workers the right to refuse work if conditions are unsafe will save lives.
“We are confident this new legislation will actually dramatically improve workplace health and safety, but it hasn’t had a chance to take effect yet,” McGowan said.
“This latest spat of workplace fatalities, unfortunately people in those workplaces probably haven’t had a chance to learn about the new legislation, and they certainly haven’t had a chance to get education about their new rights and how to use them.”
Jamie Plowman, a stonemason, agrees with McGowan that being able to refuse work due to a lack of safety will help.
“If there’s stuff like rebar sticking out of the ground or something like that, we don’t want to work around it. We can just ask someone to get it removed,” Plowman said.
Alberta workers who have been unsuccessful having complaints addressed by their employer and Health and Safety committee are then advised to file a complaint with Occupation Health and Safety here.